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Trailering: Should I Box Stall?

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  • Trailering: Should I Box Stall?

    Hello,

    So I have a decision to make and I would appreciate some input on it. I am making a 16 hour drive out to PA this fall for college. I have other people with me so we are only stopping for fuel and to give the horses breaks every 4-6 hours. I have a 1987 (used for 2 years then parked till 3 years ago when I bought it) Trail-et 4 horse straight load. It is 2 horses side by side, two doors, and then 2 horses side by side behind them. This gives me the ability to turn it into two box stalls. To get to the point, I can not decide if I should straight load or if it would be in the horses best interests to box stall them individually since I am only taking two with me? If I could get some opinions on this it would be much appreciated! Thank You!

  • #2
    IMO, if you have the ability to safely give them more room to stretch and move a bit, do it.
    ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

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    • #3
      Definitely box stall for a long trip.

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      • #4
        I would test your horse out locally first to see how they like the box stall. I have a 2+1 and was thinking for some of my long hauls would put my horse in the +1, however he isn't as comfortable in the +1 (restless and a bit anxious). He is 15 and has had a lot of trailer experience and is great in the "standing stall", so have decided not to take the chance and not to stress him out. The benefits of being able to stretch, do not outweigh the stress/chance of injury of him spinning.

        On some of the local days I have let him have the box stall to hang out in but he really isn't as comfortable in it as jumps and moves around at noises/movement on either side of trailer. Again when I tie him to cross ties in the +1 area he is perfectly behaved, but the freedom to move and look through all the different windows is a bit too much for him.

        My other older horse is perfectly content in the box stall area and I wouldn't have a worry about her hanging out in it for a long haul.

        So while I appreciate the thought that box stall would allow to stretch, I would see how your horses like it on a shorter distance first as for the long haul will likely be hard to put partitions back in on the move if they seem stressed.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 4LeafCloverFarm View Post
          IMO, if you have the ability to safely give them more room to stretch and move a bit, do it.
          Another view.

          Newton tells us that body at rest tends to remain at rest and a body in motion tends to remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.

          This means that if you are pulling your trailer at 60 mph you are traveling at 88 feet/sec. So is everything in your combination, including your 1000 pound horse. If you have to execute an emergency stop your 1000 pound horse will continue to travel at 88 feet/sec. until stopped by the physical structure of your trailer. If the horse is "loose" in a box there is no way to control that impact. If it is in a more restricted circumstance, as in a divided "stall" (either straight or slant) you can predict and control some of the consequences of that emergency stop.

          Sixteen hours in a trailer is approaching the max. time you'd like to run without unloading and giving the horse a several hour rest (not to mention the people ). The horse in the trailer is constantly working at a low level to balance itself while the trailer is in motion. I've heard it compared to moving at consistent, slow walk. Would you walk your horse for 16 hours and not give it several hours of rest? Even if you took short breaks every two to three hours? The straight or slant divider gives the horse something to "lean" on and that can help them to stay more comfortable while moving.

          I'm not a fan of boxes. They sound good to the human but IME are less good for horses.

          G.
          Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

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          • #6
            Many horses like to travel a bit tight, easier to balance than loose and needing to continuously balance on their own, without something to stop the motion.

            Others like to spread their legs to balance and single stalls make that hard for them.

            What does your horse like best?

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            • #7
              Guilherme explained that better while I was typing, what he said.

              Commercial haulers have told me the same, most horses like to have walls around them when traveling and their bigger, heavier rigs tend to be more steady than regular trailers.

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              • #8
                I'm with Guilherme. If you had a huge air-ride rig that's one thing. But a regular trailer (of any size) isn't the same as a semi equipped for the long haul. It's safety first for my horse and a smaller stall helps with that ESP if anything unexpected happens on the road! I would add that a trailer stall that doesn't have dividers all the way to the floor is best so your horse can spread his legs as needed for balance.
                Savor those rides where you feel like a million bucks, because there will be those where you feel like a cheap date...

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                • #9
                  It has long been my observation that horses prefer to ride standing backwards on the diagonal.

                  I had one horse who made me grin. He would load, and flat refuse to turn around. I would release brake, and pause as horse turned himself around. Needless to say, he was loose in a box.

                  Eventing is not a short haul activity, a horse is going to be constantly rebalancing whether loose in a box or standing in cross ties.

                  Of course 14 hours is the longest continuous run I have ever made. With normal gas and pit, and check the horses stops.
                  Last edited by merrygoround; Jul. 12, 2019, 12:58 PM.
                  Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                  Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

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                  • #10
                    Most of my horses / ponies travel better (long hauls) in box stall design.

                    * However I have several who are better cross-tied in a straight stall with a buddy next door .

                    Depends on distance • trailer • horse • driver •

                    Good Luck ~ Safe travels !

                    Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "

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                    • #11
                      OP, a trailer cam could help you there.

                      Watch the horse and change to loose or more confined as you see the horse is traveling best.
                      That may also change, at times loose may keep horse/s more contented, or fretting a bit too much?

                      I know our ranch horses, used to much hauling, were fine in our standard stock trailer, where they really are mostly loose.
                      We have now a stock trailer with a slant wall in front for a little tack room.
                      Horses seem more happy as they can lean on that a little.
                      Curious, that slant is the same they stand traveling when loose in the other stock trailer.

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                      • #12
                        Note that my comments are NOT driven by a primary concern for the "comfort of the horse." I'm primarily concerned with the health, safety, and welfare of the horse and the same for the humans hauling the horse and in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle hauling the horse. If I can accommodate "comfort" for the horse I will do so; that would only be sensible. But if there has to be some "compromise" it's the soft "comfort" concerns that take the hit not the hard "safety" issues.

                        As in all things equine you have to follow the Golden Rule but put whatever you're doing into the context in which it is being done.

                        G.
                        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

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                        • #13
                          I am with G and all those who vote for the straight stall. Everything he said about the physics of emergency maneuvers....or even a hard stop say to contain the horse.

                          One time I was coming down a long hill with a traffic light at the bottom. Long sight distances and little traffic. I have plenty of distance between me and car in front. I figure car in front of me is going thru the intersection when the light turns yellow. But nooooo......this driver slams on his brakes and I had to put my horse into the breast bar, or we would have pushed the Toyota Corolla thru the intersection. Imagine how a loose horse would have scampered in that scenario.

                          I had a large Hano that bent the center divider because he liked to lean against it in turns. The divider developed a slight "bow" on the side he leaned against.

                          I have regularly trailered 15 hours up and down I-81 and never had a problem with the horse in a straight stall. I am old enough to remember standing stalls and horses managed quite well in them.
                          Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
                          Alfred A. Montapert

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                          • #14
                            One question-tag-a-long or GN?
                            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                              One question-tag-a-long or GN?
                              Dealer's choice, IMO!

                              I prefer the GN 'cause it's easier to maneuver. That might make a marginal difference in its favor. But probably not enough to worry about.

                              G.
                              Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

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                              • #16
                                Is there such a thing as a 4 horse head to head bumper pull? Because I just assumed the OP was talking about a GN. Never occurred to me it could be a bumper pull.
                                ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

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                                • #17
                                  All my trailering has been in a bumper pull...including the 15 hrs on the interstate.

                                  The physics of decelerating a 1000 pound mass (horse) loose in a trailer are the same, BP or GN. The difference between BP or GN is how the trailer reacts.

                                  The weak point of whether the trailer will come uncoupled is still the hitch and ball....whether in the bed of the truck or attached to a Class 4 hitch.
                                  Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
                                  Alfred A. Montapert

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I have done up to 16 hours in a day with my horses in a slant load and they have handled it just fine. I also have a stock trailer that I use for day rides, but I’m not sure I would use it for longer hauls. I think the horses tend to use the slants for support on the longer hauls, plus I think the slants help to keep the horses from getting thrown around more in case of an accident.
                                    Last edited by cutter99; Jul. 14, 2019, 02:40 PM.
                                    "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by cutter99 View Post
                                      I have done up to 16 hours in a day with my horses in a slant load and they have handled it just fine. I also have a stock trailer that I use for day rides, but I’m not sure I would use it for longer hauls. I think the horses tend to use the slants for support on the longer hauls, plus I think the slants help to keep the horses from getting throw around more in case of an accident.
                                      This ^^^^^

                                      Keeping a body restrained and from being thrown about in a vehicle in case of an accident is why we wear seat belts in a car. This is why I think the straight/slant load is a better configuration for trailering horses.
                                      Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
                                      Alfred A. Montapert

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Pluvinel, this is also a HUGE reason I restrain my dogs when traveling. I have a large one who travels in a harness that attaches to the seat belt, and a small one who is crated and the crate is then seat belted in place.

                                        Years ago in a safety meeting at work, we were shown an extremely graphic British video that depicted four friends out for a drive. All but one wore a seat belt. When their vehicle was hit by another car, the unrestrained passage became a projectile that killed the three restrained passengers. Just another reason I insist everyone in my vehicle wear a seat belt!
                                        "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White

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